For decades and scores of years the only reference and association I had for the Gideons was the Godly family that always used the same room before I got there no matter where I roamed and roomed. It never failed that this loving family would leave behind in the nightstand their embossed copy of the Holy Bible. I never knew if it was accidental or if they left the Good Book on purpose in an attempt to spread the word. In my imagination they were an elderly or middle-aged couple who were simply absentminded. But, I could hardly assume too much. In any case, I always left the bible where I found it just in case they returned for it.
One thing was for sure–they sure did travel a lot.
In 1968, Lennon/McCartney wrote and released a song on the Beatles White Album called Rocky Racoon, which supported my theory about the loving and absent-minded Gideons. Obviously, Seigneurs Paul and John had experiences similar to mine and I was assured that my observations were not unique and that the Gideons were truly prolific. Here is what they had to say in Rocky Racoon about the Gideons.
So one day he walked into town Booked himself a room in the local saloon . . . Rocky Raccoon checked into his room Only to find Gideon’s bible. . . .
As the result of a disastrous gunfight in the barroom, Rocky was shot.
And now Rocky Raccoon he fell back in his room Only to find Gideon’s bible Gideon checked out and he left it no doubt To help with good Rocky’s revival
All jesting aside, I knew that The Gideons were a charitable Christian organization that distributed bibles. Other than that I knew nothing more about the group until just recently. The Program Director here at Veterans Village asked me to contact Gideons International to see if they would donate testaments and Bibles to the program as we were beginning to implement a religious program here for the residents. I emailed them and they put me in touch with a local representative for the group — Chaplain John Ciukaj.
Chaplain Ciukaj came out to meet with us and discuss our needs. He arranged to deliver both pocket testaments and full size bibles. When we discussed a need for group ministry he put us in touch with Reverence Robert “Pastor Bob” Stegemann of Celebrate Recovery. He even helps us by providing transportation for residents who wish to attend the weekly C.R. meetings.
Gideons International is truly an organization that does work to the service of God and his children. Their primary focus is on bible distribution worldwide, but their outreach is extended by the children of God who work and serve with them. This could not be more aptly illustrated than by the service and charity of Chaplain Ciukaj here at The Village.
To see more on the Gideons their website is linked here (above) and in the right-hand sidebar under “Religion and Spirituality.”